When you have a big family, Christmas can get a little crazy and gifts can get super overwhelming. For the kids, we try to limit it to four gifts. One thing you want, one thing you need, one thing you wear, one thing you read. Gotta love a catchy rhyme right? (Shout out to my High School American History teacher for sharing the idea on Facebook last year.) We always end up throwing in one or two extra small gifts that I pick up during the year on sale and we let the kids pick out something little for each other.
Limiting gifts has multiple purposes:
1) We don’t go overboard. Good grief it’s so easy to overdo it sometimes! We work hard all year and want to spoil our kids because at the end of the day they’re really great kids. After our first two years Christmas shopping for the kids together we realized that we’d bought them so many things that we couldn’t even remember what all of them were. It was all about quantity, which brings me to number two.
2) Our choices are more intentional when we limit what we buy. The Hubs and I spend a lot of time discussing and searching for the right gifts for our little monsters. We’ve had guitar in mind for Crazy Eyes for so long that The Hubs learned how to play some songs and read music so he could teach her. Each gift is picked especially for them and not just because we got distracted by the pretty packaging on the shelf. Does that mean every gift will blow them away? Nah. You can only get so excited about a new set of sheets (one thing you need) or a new pair of jammies (one thing you wear). Will the sheets or jammies be perfect for that kiddo though? You bet your holly jolly butt they will!
3) Christmas should be about more than gifts. My Husband isn’t a Christian. He celebrates Christmas with us because he appreciates the sentiments behind the holiday and the teachings of Christ regarding how we should treat others. Also, it’s the South and it’s tradition. If his Pagan self can see that Christmas is about spreading love and joy in the world and not getting a pile of presents then I think we all can. We try to focus on the teaching moments of the season and not just the presents for them. For example, we save our change all year and then use the money at Christmas for the kids to do something special for strangers. We usually do Toys for Tots. The kids love picking out gifts for other kids and it helps them to appreciate what they have. We are by no means perfect, but this falls in line with our “don’t raise kids who are assholes” parenting goal.
4) Our house is small and so is our budget. We don’t have room for a ton of toys, especially ones that aren’t being played with. The kids all share rooms and toys and things for four kids take up a lot of space sooooo fast. It’s either limit the gifts or break your neck tripping over a Barbie doll. I choose life. Our budget is often small as well so we’d rather a couple quality gifts instead of several junkier ones. (I’ll share some of the ways we make our money count with stocking stuffers in another post.)
That’s what works for us. It’s sometimes hard to stick with but in the end it makes sense for our family. What does Christmas look like for you? Do you pull out all the stops? Do you have special gift traditions? I’d love to read about it in the comments!